Tag Archives: society

Horror Movies You May Have Missed Part Three: The Reckoning

5 Sep

It’s been a while, but here’s another bunch of spooky movies you might not have seen.

 

Possession

This 1981 film is one of the most unsettling I have ever seen. Sam Neill and Isabelle Adjani play a couple whose marriage has deteriorated beyond repair. She wants a divorce, but Neill is determined to try and save the relationship: if only for the sake of their son, Bob. Although it features some spectacular – and horrifying – special effects, the film succeeds mainly on the strength of its psychological nature. Paranoid and desperate, this is a film you will never forget.

 

Absentia

Absentia is going to become a real cult classic. Released in 2011 and made on a measly budget of $70,000, it’s got the best scares-to-pound ratio of any film since The Blair Witch Project. Winner of a huge number of horror awards, the film follows two sisters trying to continue their lives after the disappearance of the elder’s husband several years earlier. But was something sinister behind his departure?

 

Cabin Fever 2

To be perfectly honest, I didn’t like the first Cabin Fever. It didn’t scare me, the over-the-top gore seemed a cheap trick, and the plot didn’t work for me. The sequel, though? Well that’s a different matter entirely. The only way I can describe this film is that it’s like Napoleon Dynamite if someone added a flesh-eating virus to the mix. Totally unique and compelling viewing.

 

Undocumented

In this found footage film, a group of grad students decide on a controversial film thesis – to travel into America with a group of illegal immigrants and document their journey. Unfortunately, the group is captured by an anti-immigration vigilante group, who offer them a deal: record everything that happens in their secret prison, and they will be set free. Try to interfere, and they will be killed.

 

Shadow of the Vampire

This movie gives us a brilliant premise: what if, whilst making Nosferatu, Director F.W. Murnau had given the role of the vampyr to an actual creature of the night? Darkly funny and deeply frightening, this film has absolutely fantastic performances from John Malkovich and Willem Defoe. Add a great supporting cast, including Cary Elwes, Udo Kier, and Eddie Izzard, and one of the best final monologues in cinema history, and you’ve got an excellent horror on your hands.

 

Stir of Echoes

Probably the most well-known film on this list, Stir of Echoes had the bad luck of being released very soon after The Sixth Sense. Kevin Bacon, after a hypnosis session, begins to suffer horrifying visions of a ghost of a girl. Although not particularly scary, the film has a great atmosphere, excellent performances, and puts together a genuinely compelling mystery.

 

Society

I love a bit of body horror, and Society is one of the greats of the sub-genre. Equal parts funny and disgusting, the film follows a teenage boy who begins to suspect his family – and his entire town – may be more than human. Acting as both a great parable for adolescence and a scathing critique of the class system, Society shows that horror can be intelligent.

 

Shivers

Speaking of body horror, it would be negligent of me not to mention David Cronenberg. One of the greatest directors ever, he’s been responsible for some of the best horror films ever created – but his first film is often overlooked. Made in 1975, it was once the most successful Canadian film of all time, but was so heavily controversial that Cronenberg found it difficult to get funding for further projects. Also known as They Came From Within, Cronenberg’s debut is a must watch.

 

They

A lot of horror films tap into the fears we had as children. They is no exception, and focuses around four adults that had night terrors when they were growing up. What if night terrors were because of genuine monsters, and that one day, those monsters come back? It may not be a classic, but They is a real chiller.

 

Dread

The final film on this list, Dread is based on a short story by Clive Barker. A team of students decides to do a film study on fear – getting to the root of what really makes people scared. Although it sometimes drops into Saw-esque territory, for the most part it is a brutal, psychologically-scarring film with surprisingly deep characters. Most impressive of all is Quaid, played by Shaun Evans, who gives a brilliant, terrifying performance.

 

That’s all for now! Up next, another retro review. But I’m sure that more horror recommendations will be coming your way…


Oh yes indeed.

Depression: The Non-Discriminatory Curse

20 Aug

Today we woke up to the tragic news of Tony Scott’s suicide. Scott, brother of Ridley, directed such iconic films as Top Gun, True Romance and Man on Fire, and produced Prometheus and The A-Team. He was a talented filmmaker and was responsible for some of the most iconic scenes in cinema in the last thirty years. The news of his death was a total shock.

Depression can attack anyone. Depression doesn’t care about how successful you are, how much you earn, or how many people you have around you; it will make you feel like a failure, and completely alone. Scott was an artist, but at the same time he made many robust, strong action films. He did not fit the stereotype of a suicidal person.

The depressed are typecast. They are pigeonholed. The cultural view of a suicidal person is the thin, waiflike artistic individual. The person who locks themselves away to write poetry, who listens to The Cure, who only watches films like Donnie Darko or The Crow. When I was a sufferer, and when I finally talked to people about my problems, my friends were surprised. Yes, I am a pretentious musician and writer. My favourite band is Nine Inch Nails and love American Beauty. But I am a vibrant person. I talk for England. I sing constantly and it irritates a lot of people. I can watch Dumb & Dumber and laugh like an idiot. When I was at university, I went clubbing several times a week and can still happily listen to ‘emotionless’ fun music based solely around how good it is to dance to.

My point is that depression can affect anyone. The death of Gary Speed, a former footballer and Wales international coach, woke up the football community. Speed was a model professional, took care of his physical fitness, did a huge amount of community work and was an incredibly supportive individual to those around him. He was well-liked both in the football world and beyond.

In the world of such a masculine sport, he is not alone, either. German goalkeeper Robert Enke committed suicide, and Neil Lennon, Paul Merson and Stan Collymore have both spoken about their battles with depression. In American football, Terry Bradshaw was a sufferer. In cricket, Lou Vincent, who does a huge amount of work to raise awareness about mental illness.

For every person who society ‘expects’ to be more susceptible to depression – the artistic sorts like Woody Allen and Joseph Gordon-Levitt – there is another who is seen as immune. But it doesn’t work like that. Depression is debilitating and disabling, and it does its work completely unseen. It affects Jim Carrey and it affects Buzz Aldrin. And it isn’t a simple matter of ‘cheering yourself up’. It takes time to be able to successfully function again, and there are scars that never go away.

The point of this post is this: if you suffer yourself, if you are depressed, if you have feelings of killing yourself, it is not a shameful thing. Talk to someone. Consult a doctor, try and get counselling. It can destroy the best and brightest of us, and if it goes unchecked then the people who can combat it will only know when it is too late.

A Beginner’s Guide to Creepypasta

18 Jul

If you read the blog regularly, or follow me on Twitter/Facebook, then you’ll see that I mention Creepypasta an awful lot. What is this mysterious and oddly-named phenomenon? Well, I’m here to give you a crash course on all things freaky and fusili-related.

Creepypasta is, quite simply, a type of horror short story, often found on message boards or blogs. Sometimes the subject matter will be something in internet or geek culture – a videogame (with Zelda, Pokémon or Minecraft being particular favourites), a television show (Spongebob Squarepants, My Little Pony, The Simpsons etc) , or a specific website or online video.

No, not THAT kind of online video!

Typically, the author of the Creepypasta will have received a mysterious email, picked up a second-hand videogame, or have ‘stumbled across’ something when online. Other times, though, the stories are simple, up-front horror fiction with a slight difference in writing style – predominantly towards first-hand experience from a first person perspective.

What I love about Creepypasta is how it seems to have become the online equivalent of telling scary stories around the camp fire. You’ll find threads on message boards based entirely around Creepypasta and frightening images – and even message boards set up just for the paranormal: 4chan’s /x/, and Reddit’s /r/nosleep and /r/creepy for instance. You’ll get internet users trying to scare the pants off each other, or even reading just to get a kick out of the stories.

Another interesting thing about Creepypasta is the way that it uses other media other than prose – video, photo, and audio in particular. Say you’re reading about a forgotten TV show from the author’s childhood; what better way to make it more real than to provide footage of said show? Or maybe you read about someone getting sent a weird audio file from an old friend – along with the post, there could be the audio file attached.

All in all, reading Creepypasta is a unique and fun experience. As it’s an uncensored, unedited form of writing, sometimes you’ll come across poorly-written – or even worse, boring – stories. Sometimes it’s actually scary. Other times it’s deliberately funny, making fun of the many clichés that have already infested the genre.

“Oh, wow it’s another person that’s found a haunted copy of Mario 64. I wonder how many haunted videogames are out there!”

Here are a few of my favourite Creepypasta stories:

Candle Cove

The members of a message board discuss the mysterious kids TV show Candle Cove. An intrepid youtuber also found footage of the show and posted it online here.

Ben (Haunted Majora’s Mask)

The biggest, and most well-known, of the videogame horror stories. A video-game enthusiast finds a copy of The Legend of Zelda: Majora’s Mask. But there’s something wrong with the game’s save files. Very long, with video included, the payoff is definitely worth it. This link includes all the videos in chronological order for the story. For other examples see Pokémon Creepy Black and Herobrine.

Gateway of the Mind

An example of an original Creepypasta idea. A experiment to try and find, and talk, to god leads to a unexpected results. Video here.

Squidward’s Suicide

The urban legend of a missing, terrifying Spongebob Squarepants episode. Also see Suicide Mouse.

Normal Porn for Normal People

An internet user gets sent a link to a disturbing site called Normal Porn for Normal People. He shares his findings as the nature of the videos rapidly spirals.

Pale Luna

A story from the 1980s about a computer game named Pale Luna, shared solely in the San Francisco Bay area. The game has been recreated here.

Interested in finding more? Well, here are some of the best places to find Creepypasta online:

4chan’s /x/ – Plenty of paranormal stuff here. Bear in mind it’s 4chan, so watch out.

/r/nosleep – If you like what you’ve read so far, this subreddit is made up of people telling scary stories.

creepypasta.wikia.com – A wiki full of Creepy stories.

inuscreepystuff.blogspot.co.uk – Blog with a very nice Creepypasta collection.

Hope you’ve enjoyed this brief look at things that go bump online. In a future blog post I’m going to share with you all some of my favourite non-Creepypasta-but-still-interwebz-based chills. Before then, though, there’s some film that’s coming out about some nutjob vigilante who dresses in a ridiculous costume and beats the crap out of people.

You probably haven’t heard of it.